The Gifted Series
Sebastian the orphan receives an amazing gift for his tenth birthday, but that gift changed his whole life — for the worse. Or did it?
King Charles is murdered.
Prince Sebastian is kidnapped.
The aardex are coming.
Jericho, the Guardian, is born.
After so many years away from his childhood home, Jericho might be the only chance the people of Wyndan have to escape the despotic kingdom that arose after the death of their beloved King Charles. But is he up to the task? Can he help right the wrongs the new king and queen have forced on the citizens? Does he even want to?
PART ONE ++ SEBASTIAN
Sebastian raced from the class, so anxious to get to his room over the stable and change into work clothes, he nearly ran into an imposing figure standing outside the classroom door. When he looked up to apologize, his heart shuddered and the color drained from his face.It was King Charles. He had nearly run down the king. Hexess!
“My apologies, Your Majesty. I was not looking where I was going.” He bowed his head in acknowledgement of the king and stuttered out an apology.
Sebastian kept his head bowed, waiting for … whatever. He was an orphan, living on the palace grounds by suffrage of the king of the entire isle of Wyndan. At a word, the king could sell him into bondage or have him beaten for disrespect. Not that he had ever heard of King Charles doing such a thing, but Sebastian knew from his history studies such punishments were still on the laws and rules of Wyndan. They had studied them in class.
“In a bit of a hurry are you?”
King Charles had a statesman’s voice. Resonant, just deep enough to convey the gravity of being the monarch of nearly a million people.
“Yes, Sire, I was hurrying to my chores.”
“As much as Mr. Philpott says you love your work in the stables, I think perhaps the term chores is a bit deceptive.”
One of the things Sebastian loved most about King Charles, after the fact the king had brought him to the palace grounds to be raised when Sebastian was just a baby, was the fact the king talked to Sebastian as if he had a brain and knew how to use it. King Charles never talked down to the orphan. He spoke as if the boy’s opinion mattered.
Sebastian looked up at the tall, straight figure before him and grinned. The king was right. Sebastian did love the stables and the horses.
“Mr. Philpott says I’m good with the horses. They are so amazing, Sire. Smart. Loyal. Strong. Beautiful. Swift.”
The king’s deep laugh boomed through the hall, enjoying the boy’s contagious enthusiasm.
“Well, Sebastian,” King Charles said after getting his mirth under control, “the stables will have to wait today. I have something to show you.”
Sebastian smiled and tried to control his excitement. The king often spent time with him showing him amazing things. Once it was the Crown Jewels, which were only seen by the public on very solemn state occasions, like when a royal married or when a child was christened. Events Sebastian would never be invited to. He was just an orphan, a stable boy.
The king placed a large hand on the boy’s thin shoulder and turned him around to head deeper into the wing of the palace where the classroom for the children of the palace staff was located. The sharp contrast of the small boy and the imposing figure of the king made many of the palace staff smile to see them pass.
King Charles guided Sebastian through a veritable labyrinth of hallways and passages, occasionally climbing a set of stairs to another level. Eventually, the pair wound up in the northern-most wing on the top floor.
“This is the Dynasty Room.” When King Charles flipped on the lights, lighting up a long narrow room, and Sebastian could see it was lined with portraits of men and women in formal dress. The portrait immediately to his left was of King Charles, painted shortly after his coronation.
At the very end of the galley hung the largest portrait of all. Charles walked toward the impressive figure of a man garbed in a style of clothing from at least a century past.
Instead of formal clothes, this man wore a simple tan leather jacket over an open-necked green shirt, which topped brown wool pants. His pants were tucked into worn, knee-high, black boots, and he was holding the reins of a beautiful bay stallion, at least seventeen hands high.
The king gestured the boy forward and waved casually at the portrait.
“This is Jericho David Walker Wyndan, my ancestor. He immigrated here from Earth in the first shipload of colonists almost three hundred years ago. He claimed and settled this island and proclaimed it the nation of Wyndan and himself its first king. King Jericho.”
— from Chapter 1, Guardian : The Gifted Series
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